Wednesday, November 28, 2007

PSA

The following is almost entirely off-topic for this blog, except for the fact that Dennis Kucinich is a Vegan - YES! I didn't write the following, it is an email from Kucinich for President. I am posting it here simply to do what I can to get the word out about a DIFFERENT kind of presidential candidate; someone who seems to actually have some integrity. Might be nice for a change, don't you think?

Back to the food tomorrow!

Thanks for taking the time to look into this under-publicized candidate.

xo
Joy


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IN DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACY

We all know that something is very wrong in our country. The Rule of Law, the Balance of Powers, and our Constitutionally guaranteed Civil Liberties have been under sustained assault by an Administration that is brazen and unrepentant in its abuses of our rights and our founding principles. And, to make matters worse, the Democratic leadership of the House and the Senate have failed to exercise the Constitutional authority granted to Congress to stop those abuses and hold violators accountable.

The results? The powers of the Executive Branch have gone unchecked and its policies unchallenged. The Congress and the American people were deceived into an illegal and immoral war in Iraq, and those same deceptions and manipulations are being used to justify a new war in Iran. The government is spying on its own citizens, ignoring judicial protections and due process, denying the right of habeas corpus, and refusing to abide by international laws, treaties, and principles.

Our nation faces a crisis, yet its leaders, and the candidates campaigning for the Presidency, refuse to acknowledge or address it in any substantive way.
That's why it's time for: A DIALOGUE FOR DEMOCRACY.

This Thursday, November 29, Democratic Presidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich will host an unprecedented "Dialogue for Democracy" forum that will be streamed LIVE on the Internet at KucinichTV.com. Along with invited guests, Dennis will bring this crisis to the attention of the nation and the world so we can better understand what's wrong, and, more importantly, what we can do about it. The first segment of the LIVE broadcast begins at 11 a.m. and continues until 1 p.m. The LIVE forum will resume at 5 p.m. and end at 9:30 p.m.

AN INVITATION TO SPEAK OUT! The Kucinich campaign is also extending this open invitation to representatives of interested organizations and concerned citizens to participate in this "Dialogue" by sending an email to dialogue@kucinich.us. Tell us who you are, the issues you want discussed, and whether you or your organization would like to participate directly during any of the LIVE broadcasts.

OUR DEMOCRACY - YOUR DEMOCRACY - is at stake in this election. And there's something you can do about it. You can stand with the candidate who stands with you. The one candidate who isn't afraid to speak the truth, to give honest answers, and to lay out real solutions that don't protect the status quo. If that's the kind of leader you want, someone who will protect and defend YOUR interests and rights under the Constitution, consider making a contribution to the Kucinich for President Campaign today. It's your way of ensuring that your voice will continue to be heard throughout the debates, the primaries, and the caucuses.

DOUBLE YOUR IMPACT! Any contribution you make now through November 29th is eligible for federal matching funds. That means your $50 contribution becomes a $100 contribution. A $100 contribution becomes $200. BUT THE DEADLINE IS THURSDAY NIGHT, so please don't wait.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Chili Cornmeal-Crusted Tofu

If you aren't a tofu fan, this could be the dish that changes your mind.

It's from the amazing Veganomicon.

You have to do a little battering and frying - but much as I don't care to fry things I tried this. I have to say it is not like the kind of frying I anticipated. You only use a very tiny amount of oil - the slices of tofu are really thin so they don't need much - and they are cooked in just a few minutes.
left to right: pressed tofu, soy milk with cornstarch, cornmeal-chili mix

I wanted to present it all fancy-like... 'cause that was my mood last night. So I started with thin slices of baked sweet potato and a molded pile of garlic and olive oil sauteed spinach. It's easy to mold. I just put it into a quarter-cup sized measuring cup and then popped it out on top of the potato slices.I sprinkled on some pine nuts - because I forgot to mix them into the spinach while I sauteed it! Ooops!
Then a sprinkle of roasted corn kernels (thank you Trader Joe's frozen veggies section!)



Finally, because I love it, I topped the whole thing off with some raw cranberry relish. Lots of colors, lots of flavors, who says they don't love tofu?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Vegan Thanksgiving!



The Menu
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup*
Tofu 'Turkey' Loaf**
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Roasted Cauliflower with cumin
Roasted Red Bell and Cubana Peppers
Stuffing**
Mashed Potatoes**
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Raw Cranberry Relish
Joyous Pecan Tarts with Mexican Vanilla Ice 'Cream'


*recipe from Vegan With A Vengeance
**made by Miss Lori

...and this is what happens when you leave delicious vegan food on an untended table.

Raw Cranberry Relish


Raw Cranberry Relish

* 2 cups fresh or defrosted frozen cranberries (sort through and toss the bad ones, remember this is raw and bad cranberries will be too mushy or too hard)
* 1/4 cup diced red onion
* 1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
* 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
* 2 oranges peeled and chopped
* 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 2 stalks celery chopped small to fine depending on your tastes


Place cranberries in food processor, and pulse to chop coarsely. Add onion, jalapeno, lime juice, orange sections (and their juice), and ginger. Pulse until everything is chopped and blended.

Transfer to a bowl. Mix in sugar and celery. Refrigerate for at the very least 2 hours and up to 2 days. Seriously do not skimp on the last step. The sugar needs to melt and blend with the cranberries otherwise you have a grainy consistency and the cranberries will be too tart and the sugar too sweet. Definitely plan to make this the day before you want to serve it for the absolute best results.

This is so good you will want to eat it by itself. It compliments almost anything - depending on how many people you are serving you may have to double the recipe. Trust me, you'll be happy to have leftovers of this stuff!

Pecan Tarts with Mexican Vanilla Ice 'Cream'

These little darlings are Pecan Tarts.
MMM-MMMM-MMM.
I veganized this recipe from Shirley's Bitchin' Pecan Tarts.

Joyous Vegan Pecan Tarts

The pastry:
* 1/2 Cup vegan cream cheese
* 1 Cup sifted flour
* 1/4 Cup Earth Balance "butter"

Blend together the cream cheese and butter. Sift in flour, mix until all the flour is incorporated - roll into ball. Chill for 2-3 hours. Divide the dough into 12 equal balls and press into muffin or tart pans so that the edges reach the top of the mold.

The filling:
* 3/4 cups chopped pecans
* 1/4 cup Earth Balance "butter", melted and cooled
* 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
* 2 flax eggs*
* dash salt
* 1 Tablespoon vanilla

Cool melted butter and add sugar, flax eggs, salt and vanilla blend until liquid and smooth. Put chopped pecans in bottom of shells. Fill 2/3 full with filling.

Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes. Makes 12 if you use regular muffin pans. Makes 24 if you use small tart pans.

You can top these cuties with Mexican Vanilla Ice 'Cream' for a more special treat.

I used the recipe for 'fancy pants' vanilla ice cream found on A Vegan Ice Cream Paradise but used only 1 cup soy creamer and 3 cups vanilla soy milk. I also used a vanilla bean from Mexico - which is why I'm calling it "Mexican Vanilla Ice Cream".
The real vanilla makes the most amazing ice cream and nothing goes better with pecan tarts than vanilla ice cream. Heaven on a plate!

*Flax Eggs
1 Tablespoon ground flax seeds + 3 Tablespoons water = 1 egg
just put the water and flax seed meal into a blender and blend until gelatinous (you can also use flax seeds - you just need to blend longer)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cholent

Five steps to satisfaction.

1. Go buy Veganomicon.
2. Go to page 182.
3. Make this unbelievably great stew.
4. Serve it to your nay-saying "eiwww Vegan" friends and family.
5. Smirk smugly as they dig in and rave.





The meat-like substance in this stew is TVP chunks. This is the first time I've used the chunks and I tell ya, dried out and packaged they resemble nothing more than dog kibble. But once you put them into something... oy! Fabulous!

The recipe in the Veganomicon doesn't call for dumplings, but for me, stew requires them. Just for the record, dumplings made with Bisquick are super quick and easy. Well worth the extra few minutes effort.

The stew also calls for caraway seeds, which I normally don't care for. Then again I've only ever run into them in bread, Irish Soda or Rye. I'm not a fan of these seeds in bread. If you don't think you like them, use them here any way. Really. There's a subtle flavor that you won't want to miss.

I'm so glad I got this cookbook!!!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

New Cook Book!



I'm so excited! I got my copy of Veganomicon the other day and today I wanted to make cornbread - guess who had a quickie recipe? Yup.

Now the recipe calls for a skillet - you make it in the skillet, skillet goes in the oven, but I don't have an oven-proof skillet (anyone wants to get me a nice cast-iron skillet is welcome to do so!) so I did it in a glass baking dish.

Crispy on the edges, moist inside. The VWaV gals did it again!


Since I was going to have this with the black bean soup I threw together the other day, I decided to spice it up with some jalapenos. The recipe in Veganomicon says to saute onions and the peppers then add to the cornbred, but hello laziness. I just chopped up the jalapeno and stirred it into the batter along with some crushed red pepper flakes - that's what those little red and green specks are in the cornbread. Next time I'm trying the onion and pepper saute - really! I'm not ALWAYS lazy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Summer rolls in November

The first thing I saw in Vegan with a Vengeance that I really wanted to try to make was the Mango Summer Rolls. They just looked so beautiful. But I never got around to it and oh look, it's mid-November. Can you make "Summer Rolls" in November? Oh sure you can - especially if you live in an overheated New York City apartment.



I did not follow the recipe in that great cookbook - I just didn't have all the ingredients so I improvised.

It was really simple.

Rice papers
rice noodles
Fresh Mango - sliced thin
Carrots - sliced thin
cucumber - sliced thin
chopped roasted almonds
sprinkle of ground ginger

Soak the rice papers until soft (one at a time otherwise they will get too soft and tear apart when you lift them out of the water). Lay them on a towel to absorb the excess water and then lay some cooled, cooked rice noodles on one end. Then layer whatever you are using on top of the noodles - but not too much or you won't be able to close the rice paper roll.

You roll them like a burrito, except that you fold in both ends and you have to roll carefully because the rice paper can tear (especially if a carrot is a little too long and pops through!)

I think they look really pretty cut open.



The dipping sauce was something I threw together, again, with what I had laying around.

Hot Chili Oil
Peanut Butter
splash of soy sauce
splash of rosemary vinegar
ground ginger

Just whisk it together, give it a taste - adjust the peanut butter and chili oil until you have the amount of heat you like and that is that!

I think these would be fun to fry as well, making the rice paper all crispy. But I'm not much of a fryer, so I left them as they are.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Eat Your Colors... I mean Veggies!

Colorful vegetables are good for you - you know all those fabulous vitamins and antioxidants and so on. The best part of cooking with colorful veggies is how unbelievably PRETTY your food looks! And you don't have to do any special work to make it gorgeous - you do your regular chopping and stirring and Mother Nature takes care of the decor.

I got this little head of purple cauliflower at a farmer's market.



I threw it into the sautee pot with red and yellow bell peppers, spinach, red onion and of course, garlic.



Throw in some whole wheat pasta, a sprinkle of pine nuts and you're eating art!


Honestly, who wouldn't want to eat all those colors?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Cream filling

I was a little sad when I read the label of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and found they were not Vegan. Oh well. When you want some chocolate in your peanut butter, or peanut butter in your chocolate, you can always make a batch of these Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Cream filling (recipe from VCTOTW) and satisfy that urge.



These were my first filled cupcakes and I was surprised at how easy it was to do the filling. You poke your finger into the top of the cupcake once it has cooled and then with a pastry bag (large tip) filled with peanut butter cream you just plug up the hole! Then you pipe a little on top to cover the hole up and that creamy center is just waiting to surprise the lucky cupcake eater!



I sprinkled some cocoa powder over the top of the frosting, because I was gettin' all crazy with myself, but I don't think they need it at all. They are pretty scrumptious. And chocolatey. AND peanut buttery! Yum.